Vegan Chili Cheese Fries
These vegan chili cheese fries are oil-free and topped with healthy bean chili and easy queso cheese sauce. They’re highly addictive, totally delicious and always a hit!
- vegan and gluten-free – great for those with dietary restrictions
- versatile – use the cheese sauce for a dip and sauce for chips, steamed veggies and more
- kid-friendly – kids love this fun, messy meal!
Here are a few notes about the ingredients needed:
- nutritional yeast – creates the cheesy flavour of the sauce, I can’t recommend a substitute for this recipe
- tomato sauce – straight up, plain tomato or pasta sauce from a jar or can
- cashews – create the creamy base of the sauce, look for “raw” cashews with no added oil or salt
- beans – try kidney, pinto or black beans, or a variety, a 14 oz or 19 can works (1.5-2 cups)
Step by Step Instructions
Step 1. Bake the Fries
Here are some tips for the best oil-free baked fries:
- Go with a fairly high temp – I suggest 425 F.
- Don’t cut them too thin. About a 1/2 inch cut is perfect for a puffy and crispy on the outside, tender on the inside fry.
- Use salt, pepper, and any spices you want.
- Lay them in a single layer and don’t overcrowd the pan. This is key to crispiness!
- Bake for 25 minutes. Flip, bake for 20 minutes. Done!
Step 2. Make the Chili
The chili for this recipe is super simple – add everything to a pan and simmer for 10-15 minutes to heat through and thicken. That’s it!
Step 3. Make the Queso
The queso can be made by blending everything in a high-speed blender.
NOTE: If you don’t have a high-speed blender, soak the cashews 8 hours up to overnight before using in the recipe. You can skip this if you want but the queso will grainy rather than smooth and creamy.
Once you’ve made the fries, chili and queso, layer everything on a plate and dig in!
Tips, Substitutes and FAQs
- for alternative chili recipes try my easy vegan chili, 3-bean chili or sweet potato black bean chili
- the chili and cheese sauce also works well over nacho chips, baked potatoes or sweet potato
- the cheese sauce is great on top of steamed broccoli or for dipping tortilla chips in
How long does the cheese sauce keep for?
The cheese sauce keeps in the fridge for up to 5 days. It will thicken up a bit and can be thinned with a bit of water if needed. The chili can be stored in the fridge for up to 5 days as well.
Do I have to soak the cashews?
If you have a high-speed blender, such as a Vitamix or Blentec, you do not need to soak the cashews. If you don’t have a high-speed blender, I suggest soaking the cashews for 8 hours up to overnight or boiling them for 10 minutes then draining before using in the recipe.
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For the Queso Cheese Sauce
- 1 cup water
- 1 cup raw cashews
- 1/4 cup nutritional yeast (21 g)
- 2 heaping tbsp tomato sauce (40 g)
- 1 1/2 tsp sea salt
- 3/4 tsp turmeric
- 2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
For the Chili
- 1 19 oz. can mixed beans
- 1 1/4 cup tomato sauce
- 1 tbsp tomato paste
- 1 tbsp chili powder
- 1/2 a jalapeno, seeds removed and minced
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 small white onion, diced
- 1 large grated carrot, grated (approx. 1/2 heaping cup),
- 1 tsp each sea salt and black pepper
For the Fries
- Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Slice the potatoes into approximately 1/2 inch wedge fries and toss with a sprinkle of sea salt and pepper. Add a pinch of paprika and chili powder, if desired. Line the fries on a baking tray (use parchment paper, a silicone mat or non-stick cooking spray), allowing some room between each fry. Bake for 25 minutes, flip and bake 15-20 minutes more until browned and crispy.
- Add all queso ingredients to a high-speed blender and mix until smooth and creamy.
- To make the chili add all the ingredients to a medium-sized pot and little simmer over medium heat for 15 minutes, stirring every so often until it’s well-mixed and the carrot is tender.
- Once the fries are ready, load them onto a plate. Top with chili and cheese sauce and dig in!
Queso sauce and chili make enough for 4-6 servings. Adjust amount of potatoes accordingly.
If you don’t have a high-speed blender, soak cashews in water for 8 hours up to overnight or boil for 10 minutes then drain. You can skip this if you want but the sauce will be grainy.
If you can’t find mixed beans, kidney, black or pinto beans all work. If you can’t find a 19 oz can, a 14 oz can is fine. You’ll need 1.5-2 cups of beans.
This recipe is best enjoyed fresh but the cheese sauce and chili can both be stored separately in the fridge for up to 5 days.
For the tomato sauce, use any plain canned or jarred tomato or pasta sauce.
Keywords: vegan chili cheese fries, vegan queso sauce
UPDATE NOTE: This recipe was originally published on June 18, 2018. It was updated with new photos and text on June 4, 2020.